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Is tuberculosis a contagious disease?

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Cardiologist
Practicing since : 1981
Answered : 922 Questions
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hi
my father got diagonised with pericardial effusion one and half year back which was very thick they operated it and removed they said it is tuberculosis he went with the medication. i asked doctors whether it will pass since its tb they said all that has been removed and not contagious at all.now my mother got this they say its just viral not tb .is this contagious ?i asked the doctors ,they say no.
then why did my mother got after father?
my two kids are very attached to them we always stay with them i am worried now may be i may get this. is this contageous .my both parents never had any coughs before the disease and after also
any preventive measure can be taken for my kids and me
i asked doctors they say if u r mother has got this from u r father then she should have got this immeadiately not after one and half year.
even now they say its not contageous and kids can play with them i am really worried and my family now?
Posted Mon, 5 Nov 2012 in Cancer
 
 
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 1 hour later
Hello Mr XXXXXXX
Thanks for writing in.
I am a medical specialist with a degree in cardiology. I read your mail with diligence.
You doctors are right. In India tuberculosis is contagious (can spread from person to person) in pulmonary tuberculosis usually in children. Depending upon our immunity all of us has had our bouts with tuberculosis in childhood. Most of the times without symptoms. So if all adults are subjected to chest x-ray, most will show stigmata old healed tuberculosis. That does not mean that bacillus(the organism which causes tuberculosis ) is dead and gone. Bacilli lie dormant. If there is change in person's immunity by broad spectrum antibiotics, diabetes, immunodeficiency disorders or without any cause, there is reactivation of tuberculosis in membranes. If it occurs in bones you have osteomyelitis if it occurs in brain membranes it is called meningitis. In your parents case it was membrane surrounding the heart. That time if there is no expectorant there is no way bacilli can go and infect others so it is not contagious in adults. If your kids are old say above 12 years of age and you need not worry as living in India, all you already has had exposure to tuberculosis. You can consult a pediatrician about your kids if they are younger. He/she will like to do Mountoux test and shall speak to you clarifying all your doubts. If you have any follow up question I will be most happy to answer. Good Luck
With best wishes.
Dr Anil Grover,
Medical Specialist & Cardiologist
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is tuberculosis a contagious disease? 13 minutes later
in my mothers case they sat its not tb but viral
in my fathers case also they have taken the fluid out and sent for tests those tests are also negative for tb and they have done some tb tests in blood they are also negative
even after surgery they sent the thing for biopsy even that did not go completely with tb, but doctors told in india usually it occurs with tb and my father lost weight so on that basis they started with tb medication r cinex
now in my mothers case they are saying its not at all tb
as far as the fluid is concerned my others was red liquid and my fathers was some yellowish semi solid like thing
and the ct scan of my mothers say that mild pleural effusion thickening seen uto 8mm and fibroticbands
i asked doctors they told that the fibrotic band may be the past history of tb but she was never diagonised with tb before
then i asked doctors then why dont u start with tb medication they it is not required because now its not tb
my parents dont have cough at all
anyways my kids are very young one is 5 years and the other is 9months
 
 
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 7 hours later
Thanks for writing back
Surgery is done for thickened pericardium and secondly in tuberculous pericardial effusion tubercular bacilli are very very rarely seen (I have seen two case out of 500 in last 30 years). Weight loss in chronic constrictive pericarditis is well known feature and is multifactorial.
It is in a way good if your mother does not tuberculosis but viral (I hope myocardium that is heart muscle is not involved) because viral effusion seldom produce thickening. Do not worry too much of technical details, doctors usually tell every thing which an attendant want to know. Maintain a good faith.
Please show your kids to their pediatricians once. Write anything you want me to reply to. Good Luck.

Dr Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is tuberculosis a contagious disease? 13 hours later
for my mother they have already done XXXXXXX procedure and removed the fluid but still in ct scan it showed that mild effusion is still there which is thickening cant we stop the fluid comming by any medication
doctors say if it is thickening then we need to perform operation

they have already removed the fluid but mild effusion is still there will it increase in time being?

doctors say mild effusion will be there after the procedure dont worry but if it increases then we need to think?

are there any medications that can stop the thickening of the fluid and the fluid reoccuring again and again

write now it is very mild and my mother has no issues with breathing so if it stops here than we are very lucky please tell about the medication
 
 
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 2 hours later
Dear Mr XXXXXXX
Thanks for writing back. Let us deal with what you have asked.
You have asked:
For my mother they have already done XXXXXXX procedure and removed the fluid but still in ct scan it showed that mild effusion is still there which is thickening cant we stop the fluid coming by any medication
doctors say if it is thickening then we need to perform operation.
Reply: Removal of fluid is a kind of operation also. Making provision that effusion does not increase and drains into pleural space is also kind of operation. Removal of pericardium is required for thickened pericardium which compresses the heart.
Q:they have already removed the fluid but mild effusion is still there will it increase in time being?
A: If they have diagnosed it be viral it is their considered opinion that effusion tends to increase in your mother.
Q: Doctors say mild effusion will be there after the procedure do not worry but if it increases then we need to think?
They are right. And mild effusion is the one which does not interfere with functioning of your heart.
Q: Are there any medications that can stop the thickening of the fluid and the fluid reoccurring again and again?
A: No not in every case. This a conclusion arrived by your doctors in good faith.
Q: Right now it is very mild and my mother has no issues with breathing so if it stops here than we are very lucky please tell about the medication.

Medicine is not exact science it is an art in which the doctors make decision which may appear irrational. You discuss with your doctor, he/she will be able to explain the reason for their advise for surgery. If you do not have faith in your surgeon, he/she will not mind your taking second opinion. Where you can show your mother to another cardiologist: Hyderabad has some very good institutes like CARE, APOLLO and NIZAM. Good Luck. If you have any further query I will be happy to answer. Reiterating again compression of heart does not depend on quantity of effusion, that is the reason your doctors are taking the decision to operate that seems to be the case to me.

Regards

Dr Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is tuberculosis a contagious disease? 19 minutes later
is viral pericarditis contagious by sharing utensils or by sitting beside the patient or by any means like coug or shaking hands or by using the same wahroom
 
 
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 14 minutes later
Thanks for writing back.

Short answer is NO with a rider:
If the patient is coughing sneezing then secretions coming in direct contact person with lowered immunity (with Diabetes, very young infants, patients suffering from immunodeficiency syndrome) can get infected . Those are rare situations not presently applicable to your mother as patient and your family as contacts.

Dr Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is tuberculosis a contagious disease? 21 hours later
what is the difference between constructive pericarditis and pericardial effusion?
they say my father has constructive and my mother is pericardial effusion both are different so she did not get that from my father and more over he has been completely cured

will this stay inside the body for years without any symptoms and then comeout or its only few months after getting exposed to the disease the pateint will show symptoms?

the mountox test done for my father was negative,will this test definitely confirms tb in the peicardium,if this test is negative then why did they go with tb medicines for my father?

many other test are done for my father to confirm tb, but all turned negative the doctors said sometimes the tb will not be shown from these tests the final is biopsy
is that so?
even the biopsy did not go completely in favour of tb,with such latest technology in medicine is it possible not confirming the particular disease?

for my mother the ada is 26 which is unlikely for tb itseems ,but we cant completely rule out the tb we need to observe her

the mild pericardial effusion thickenining upto 8mm was seen in my mother she started steroids if the medicines work the mild effusion which is present will go away completely?

the other side if the medicines does not work how much time it would take for the fluid to reoccur again with thickening?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 21 hours later
Sorry for delay in replying as I had to come to the US from where I am replying.
Please write directly to YYYY@YYYY , I will reply back in detail. Most of your questions are technical and I assure you doctors are doing the right thing. To start with constrictive pericarditis is constriction of membrane surrounding the heart. Pericardial effusion is fluid in the pericardium. I can not answer on behalf of your doctors but the most common cause of constrictive pericarditis is tuberculosis in India. Biopsy did go in favor of tuberculosis in any case as I had explained to you tuberculous bacilli are not found but pathology of thickening is proof enough. Course of viral pericardial effusion is variable and varies from patient to patient. If you ask your doctor who is treating the patient he/she will be able to answer this individual question. No doctor can give time frame of complete cure or chances of relapse those limitations you must understand. If you rephrase the questions in nonspecific manner I can answer what medical science says. Specific question without seeing the details of an individual patient can be answered based on ones experience in general. Therefore, I request you to provide more information and I will answer you directly. Best would be to call me after 28th when I am back in India my phone number is on my XXXXXXX page. Regards.

Dr Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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